At the Cinncinatti Museum of Art, one of their most popular pieces is a small van Gogh from 1890 called Undergrowth with Two Figures. The work is one of the master’s last and to the casual viewer, seems like a vibrant painting with its bright blue, yellow and green brushstrokes. But to conservator Per Knutas, this is a piece that has been the victim of some well meaning, but ultimately destructive damage done in the 1970s in the form of a wax overlay meant to keep any loose paint attached.
“It obscures the colors that van Gogh was so famous for,” Knutas said. “By gently removing the wax, I expose the intended colors so the painting will be more vibrant, and the texture will be more true to how the painting looked when van Gogh was done with it.”
The museum has put both the painting on display as well as Knutas as he goes about painstakingly restoring the work, which should take him through July, after which it is headed to the Philadelphia Museum on loan.
The Cinncinatti Museum of Art
953 Eden Park Drive, Cincinnati, OH 45202 – (513) 721-2787
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